Can You Say “Villaviciosa”?

“If we’re going to move to this town, I’ll need to learn how to say it!” I said to Michael. 

Somehow, he already had it down. 

But after three days, “Villaviciosa” didn’t exactly roll off my tongue. 

I was, however, optimistic. After all, I could now easily talk about getting our empadronamientos at the Ayuntamiento.

So why was Villaviciosa such a hard word to pronounce? Probably because it includes so many of the features that make Spanish pronunciation so interesting or frustrating, depending on your outlook: 

  • V’s are pronounced like B’s. Which, my Spanish language partner tells me, is why many Spaniards, even as adults, get spellings of such words incorrect. 
  • “LL” is pronounced like the “Y” in “yellow.”
  • In Spain, the letter “C” is pronounced like the English “TH” (as in the word thumb). 
  • “I” is pronounced like the English long “E.”

Got all that?

Thankfully, I learned Spanish pronunciation in a natural way, so never had to memorize any of the above rules. If I see a word written, I can pronounce it.

And that was the problem. I hadn’t spent enough time studying the spelling of Villaviciosa. So I took a few minutes to do so.

By the end of our trip, we decided to make Villaviciosa our next home town. And by the end of our trip, I was able to successfully tell people where we were headed. 

For those of you still mystified:

  • Villaviciosa is pronounced: Bee – yuh- beeth – ee -O-suh—accent on the “o”
  • Ayuntamiento is pronounced: eye – yoon- ta- me -EN-toe. This is the word for city hall.
  • Empadronamiento is pronounced: em- pah- drone- ah – me – EN – toe. This is a paper that you apply for at the Ayuntamiento that registers you as a resident of the town. Luckily, in the beginning, I could get away with saying the nickname many Spaniards use for this word: Padrón (pah-DRONE)
Awaiting the arrival of the Three Kings
at the Ayuntamiento in Villaviciosa.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda Sherren says:

    But what I want to know is why is it called Vicious Town?

    1. Apparently, back when it was named, “viciosa” had a different meaning. Something to do with the fertility of the land. I haven’t dug into the etymology enough to understand any more than that. Vitality? Will have to do some more hunting!

  2. Christopher says:

    Oooo! I can answer this one! A villaviciosa was a private hunting ground, usually held by the local ruler(s). In Madrid, there’s an area called Villaviciosa de Odón, which is the location of a university and a number of residential neighborhoods. These kinds of historic areas were usually centered around forests and were maintained as a kind of “vacation spot” for the ruler and their court when the ruler wanted to escape to the country.

    1. Wow! Thank you for that! I much prefer that to “Vicious Village” lol!

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